London

My oil painting technique by Michele Del Campo

I was invited by Cass Art and Winsor and Newton to give two workshops in October, in Cass Art Islington and Cass Art Hampstead. Moreover I was invited to write a blog post showing the process of an oil painting of mine. You can read it now in the Cass Art blog:https://www.cassart.co.uk/blog/michele_del_campo_how_to.htm

My technique demonstration in the Cass Art blog

My technique demonstration in the Cass Art blog

 

WORKSHOP: If you would like to learn my technique, I invite you to attend a weekend workshop on 19-20 March in my London studio, here you can read about it and buy your ticket:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/figure-oil-painting-workshop-19-20-march-2016-tickets-21636356926

Some students in my last oil painting workshop

Some students in my last oil painting workshop

Detail of “Sunny Time”

Detail of “Sunny Time”

Portrait Commissions by Michele Del Campo

ENGLISH: I am honoured that the Press Team of the Mall Galleries came to interview me in my studio about my approach to portrait commissions. Not many people know that some of my paintings are portrait commissions, for which I usually have the freedom to create a narrative typical of my exhibition pieces, like this one of two siblings from a family in Madrid: www.mallgalleries.org.uk . Also you can contact the Mall Galleries if you would like to commission me a portrait. ESPAÑOL: He tenido el privilegio de ser entrevistado por el equipo de prensa de la Mall Galleries en mi estudio, sobre mi acercamiento al retrato por encargo. No mucha gente sabe que algunas de mis pinturas son en realidad encargos, para los cuales en general tengo bastante libertad de tejer un hilo narrativo típico de mi trabajo expositivo. Un ejemplo es este cuadro de dos hermanos, encargo de una familia de Madrid: www.mallgalleries.org.uk

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Open Studios 14-15 Nov. by Michele Del Campo

the chocolate factory wood green Sat 14 - Sun 15 November

The Chocolate Factory Clarendon Road N22 6XJ London

Together with all the artists of The Chocolate Factory I am going to participate to the Open Studios next weekend. Anyone interested in arts, who want to meet the artists, see the places where artists create, their latest works or buy directly from them, this is a unique opportunity that only comes once a year! For the occasion I will have prints, catalogues, life drawings, nude paintings and some of my exhibition paintings on sale.

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Life drawing sessions in my studio by Michele Del Campo

_MG_4935 ENGLISH: Since I left my studio in central Soho, I quit organizing life drawing sessions. However I always liked the nice atmosphere that was created by the weekly gatherings, with other artists, old and new friends interested in practising and improving their drawing skills. We would invite always different models of all races, dancers, performing artists, contortionists, pregnant women, twins and couples, and we would often end up in one of the pubs nearby to socialize afterwards. Last weekend, during a night out with some of those old friends who used to draw with me in my sessions, they gave me the idea of resuming the classes, and I thought that it was a wonderful idea. Anyone who is interested in taking part is very welcome, until places are full.

These are the details of my sessions:

Tuesdays, 7-9pm, please RSVP by email or whatsapp with your name if you are coming.

Entry fee: £10

The Chocolate Factory, Studio 9, Unit B104, Clarendon Road, N22 6XJ London

Tel/Whatsapp: 07853538527

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Third prize at "Pintar Rapido", London by Michele Del Campo

266 I have been so busy and lately on holidays that I haven't posted news about my activity for a while. Trying to catch up, I will post my new paintings and news in several posts in the next days.

michele del campo, Pintar Rapido 2015

First of all I would like to remember that wonderful day of urban plein air painting in July where at least 300 artists took the streets of London: it was Pintar Rápido competition, and we all managed to complete a whole painting in just one day! I choose to paint in King's Road, the window shop of John Lewis-Peter Jones and the flowers that hang along that street. It is not a usual subject for me, but I enjoyed the challenge and I got to remain close to the Old Chelsea Town Hall, where all the paintings needed to be handed over by 7pm. My composition was very challenging but I managed to find the way to balance it, putting a figure closer to the viewer. This bigger figure was a mix of 2 girls to whom I asked to pose for me there and then. The problem with oils is that they don't dry in the day, in fact the next day, hung in the exhibition, in the Chelsea Old Town Hall, my painting had several unintentional touches that blurred or deleted some small areas, coming either from the hanging process or from some unaware member of the public, often carrying racksacks or coates in their hands. However there was a beautiful surprise that day for me: my painting was given the third prize! There were some really good paintings around, and narrowing down to just a few prizes must have been a very difficult task for the jury. You can browse almost all of the works made in that day by clicking here.

"The Butterfly" and my new workshop by Michele Del Campo

michele del campo the-butterfly ENGLISH: This is a painting that will be exhibited in the AAF Hong Kong art fair in May at the Mark Jason Gallery's stand. If you have been following my blog, you might have seen that I made part of this painting in a workshop demonstration in my studio three weeks ago. Not only I was painting this to explain my technique to painters participating in my workshop, but also they were painting it on their own canvases under my guidance. They have asked me a second part of the workshop to learn more and continue the painting, and the part 2 will be held in April. There will be a new workshop from 15 to 17 May, always in my studio, anyone interested in attending can get more information and buy a ticket here.

ESPAÑOL: Este cuadro estará expuesto en el stand de la Mark Jason Gallery en la feria AAF Hong Kong en mayo. Si has estado siguiendo mi blog, habrás visto fotos de este cuadro en proceso durante uno de mis workshops hace tres semanas. Mis alumnos han seguido mis demonstraciones técnicas y han empezado el mismo cuadro, y, tras el workshop, todos han querido que pusiera una segunda parte del curso, para completarlo bajo mi supervisión. Esta segunda parte será en abril. Quien esté interesado en un nuevo workshop en mi estudio, ya he creado el evento desde el 15 al 17 de mayo, y los billetes se pueden adquirir ya en este enlace.

A great workshop in my studio by Michele Del Campo

_MG_5033-1 Yesterday was the last of my 3-day workshop "Figure Alla Prima" in my London studio. I enjoyed very much the experience and I am so happy that everybody was very enthusiastic with their experience too, in fact all of them are interested in attending future workshops or a part II of this same workshop. The available places were limited to only 5 painters, so they could be working on big canvases and get individual attention, and I had a great group of lovely people, mix of professional and amateur artists. It was a very peculiar workshop because I gave my students the task to do the same painting that I am doing, and they progressed alongside me watching my demonstrations, looking at my painting in progress and listening to my advises. I started every day demonstrating on my canvas, explaining in detail my methods and then letting my students do the same work under my constant guidance, demonstrating on their canvases too when it could be useful for a better understanding. I was very pleased at the end with the results

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of each of them. I taught many aspects of my technique, but the highlights of my workshop, according to most of the painters, have been my teaching about colour mixing, colour theory to achieve clean and bright colours, and how to use the brushes to achieve all possible effects with very few touches. My next workshop will be from 15 to 17 May and it's already bookable here.

ESPAÑOL: Ayer fue el último de los 3 días de taller "Figura alla prima" en mi estudio de Londres. Me ha gustado mucho la experiencia y estoy muy contento que todos los participantes estaban contentos también con la suya, tanto que me han convencido a organizar pronto otro taller y quizás también una continuación de este mismo taller, la segunda parte. Los puestos disponibles eran tan solo 5, para que todos pudieran trabajar en lienzos grandes y tener atención individualizada. Ha sido un taller muy peculiar porque di a los participantes la tarea de realizar el mismo cuadro que yo estoy pintando, así que ellos progresaron junto asistiendo a mis demonstraciones cada mañana y repitiendo lo que habían aprendido en sus lienzos, con mis constantes consejos y ayuda teórica y práctica. Enseñé muchos aspectos de mi técnica, y los puntos más atractivos de mi taller, según me han dicho los participantes, han sido la teoría y la mezcla de los colores, y la utilización de los pinceles para conseguir todo tipo de efectos con pocos toques. Mi próximo taller será desde el 17 al 19 de abril y se puede reservar aquí.

The Chocolate and the Custard Factories...Artists studios by Michele Del Campo

the-chocolate-factory ENGLISH: I have been included in this video about The Chocolate Factory in London and The Custard Factory in Birmingham. These two buildings, former factories of, as their names says, chocolate and custard, have been converted into quality spaces for artists and creatives of all kind, with the advantages of its structure (high ceilings, very big windows, heavy duty lifts, big staircases for the passage of big paintings, etc.) Above all, they are, in theory, permanent spaces dedicated to foster creativity in the community and to sustain the arts. Other artists studios organizations around London in general have to struggle to find old buildings to convert into artists spaces, usually abandoned and in bad conditions, and further and further away from the city center. These organizations usually only obtain short-term leases of 4 to 7 years (many artists don't even get that time to stay when they arrive towards the end of the lease). Consequently the investment of these organizations in creating divided spaces to rent to artists is minimal and the maintenance too (although rents for artists remain high). Moreover, the lease in some cases can be ended sooner than established, as it happened in my previous studio in Soho (the lease was 5 years and we got to stay less than 4) with very few weeks of warning. Artists then live in the uncertainty of a transitory situation, having to move from one place to another when the lease ends, with all the difficulties of finding a new studio, being the demand for space far superior to the offer.

When I first came to The Chocolate Factory I was impressed by the level of service that we get, a permanent space with a reception, 24h security, free parking space, everyday cleaning of the common areas and facilities, central heating, a yearly Open Studios event, two restaurants and bars, free events like poetry readings, live music, exhibitions, video projections, theatre perfomances, etc... Perhaps these advantages that we have, compared with other artists studios around the city, justify the use of the old name of the building: it is in a way still like being in a chocolate factory!

My new studio at The Chocolate Factory, London

    The courtyard of the building

ESPAÑOL: He sido incluido en este video sobre los complejos de estudios de artistas de la Fábrica de Chocolate de Londres y la Fábrica de Natillas de Birmingham. Estos dos edificios, construidos para la manufacturación de, como dice el nombre, chocolate y natilla, han sido convertidos en espacios de calidad para artistas y creativos de todo tipo (música, teatro, cínema, diseño, etc.), por la ventaja de su composición estructural (techos altos, ventanas grandes, ascensores enormes para cargas pesadas, corredores y escaleras anchos que permiten el paso de cuadros grandes, etc...). Sobre todo estos son ya, en teoría, espacios

    The reception and entrance to the studios

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permanentes para la fomentación de la creatividad en la comunidad y para sostener los artistas. Otras organizaciones  que proveen espacios para artistas en Londres en general tienen que luchar para encontrar edificios, generalmente viejos y abandonados, y cada vez más lejos del centro de la ciudad. Estas organizaciones normalmente obtienen permisos para utilizar el espacio solamente de 4 a 7 años (muchos artistas que llegan más tarde no llegan a quedarse ese tiempo, y algunos llegan hacia el final). En consecuencia, la inversión para crear en el interior de esos edificios espacios divididos para uso de los artistas, es mínima, así como el mantenimiento, aunque los alquileres sigan siendo altísimos. Por eso los artistas viven en una situación transitoria y de incertidumbre, teniendo que desplazarse de un sitio a otro periódicamente, enfrentándose a todas las dificultades de encontrar otro espacio, siendo la demanda de estudios muy superior a la oferta.

Cuando vine por primera vez a ver la Fábrica de Chocolate me impresionó el buen nivel de servicios que recibíamos, un espacio permanente con recepción y seguridad 24h, aparcamiento gratis, limpieza diaria de los baños y los espacios comunes, calefacción central, evento anual de Estudios Abiertos, dos bares y restaurantes en su interior, en uno de los cuales se organizan eventos gratis de música, performance, cínema y exposiciones. Quizás estas ventajas que tenemos, comparadas con otros complejos de estudios de artistas en la misma ciudad, justifican el uso continuado del viejo nombre del edificio: ¡en cierta manera es como estar en una fábrica de chocolate!

I will teach "Figure Alla Prima" Workshop in my studio by Michele Del Campo

march-workshop-del-campo1I could not foresee that my workshop would be so successful from the first day that I published the information, so there is now only one ticket left! I was going to post about it tomorrow in this blog but now I feel obliged to advise my blog followers as soon as possible, in case any of you is interested. Here is the poster for the event, by clicking on it you will get all the information and will be able to buy the last ticket (if you arrive late and are interested in the workshop, please message me and I will inform you if I organize another one later on).

The end of Soho artist studios by Michele Del Campo

artists studios dean street

ENGLISH: In 2010 an organization that provides studio space for artists offered me the great opportunity to rent a studio in Soho, a very central and fashionable area in London. Beside our building had to be built one of the underground rail stations of Crossrail, the biggest construction project in Europe, which will link the west with the East, passing through the centre through a series of newly excavated underground tunnels. From my window, just at the end of the worksite, I can see Oxford Street, perhaps the most famous commercial and turistic street of London. The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square are just 15 minutes walking distance towards South, and so it is the British Museum, towards East. Also in the East, but just 10 min. away, is Covent Garden, and within the same distance are Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, towards West, and these are just a few of the many nearby touristic attractions. The same street where my building is, Dean Street, is full of history. For example, this street was regularly frequented by writer Charles Dickens, during his early career as an actor in the Royalty Theatre. In Dean Street also lived his childhood years Karl Marx, in very poor conditions, and his close collaborator Friedrick Engels. In Dean Street there was also a famous private club for artists and bohemians, The Colony Room, frequented by Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and, more recently, by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. But everything has an end, and the most central and sought after building for artist studios in London has been sold to a new company, owned by Crossrail. After receiving a very recent warning about the end of our lease, before 31st August all artists have to hand back the keys, and many of us are still looking for a new studio. For sure there won't be any more chances to be so close to the centre, nowadays artists studios tend to be in old factories in the outskirts, but my 4 years in Soho have been a privilege that I will always treasure among my memories as an artist.

 

the Crossrail worksite seen from my window in 2010. Beyond the worksite is Oxford Street.

ESPAÑOL: En 2010 una organización que gestiona edificios con estudios de artistas en Londres me ofreció la gran oportunidad de alquilar un estudio en Soho, un área muy central y a la moda de Londres. Nuestro edificio estaba a lado de una zona de obras que formaba parte del proyecto de construcción más grande de Europa, la nueva línea de trenes Crossrail,

    The Crossrail worksite from my window in 2014

que unirá el sur-oeste al nor-este de Londres, pasando por el centro a través de nuevos túneles subterráneos. Desde mi ventana, más allá de la zona de obras, se ve Oxford Street, la famosa calle comercial más turística de Londres. La National Gallery y Trafalgar Square están a 15 minutos andando hacia sur, la misma distancia que el British Museum, hacia el este mientras Covent Garden, siempre al este, está a tan solo 10 minutos, igual que Piccadilly Circus, al oeste, entre otros lugares turísticos famosos. La misma calle donde está mi edificio de artistas, Dean Street, tiene muchísima historia. En esta calle estaba el teatro Royalty Theatre, que frecuentaba mucho el escritor Charles Dickens, en sus comienzos como actor. En Dean Street también vivió su infancia Karl Marx, en condiciones muy pobres, y su colaborador Friedrick Engels. En Dean Street también surgió un club privado de artistas y bohemios, The Colony Room, frecuentado por Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon y, más recientemente, Damien Hirst y Tracy Emin. Pero todo tiene un final, y el edificio de artistas más central y buscado de Londres ha sido vendido hace poco a una nueva empresa, propiedad de Crossrail. Tras  recibir un aviso muy reciente, el día 31 de agosto todos los artistas tienen que entregar las llaves, y muchos no hemos encontrado todavía un nuevo estudio. Seguramente no habrá más posibilidades de encontrar un espacio tan cerca del centro, hoy los estudios de artistas tienden a estar en viejas fábricas abandonadas en la periferia de la ciudad, sin embargo, mis 4 años en el Soho han sido un privilegio enorme que quedará siempre entre mis recuerdos más entrañables como artista.

"L'Illustratrice" (The illustrator), oil on linen, 162x114cm

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My studios, London and Valencia - the importance of the light by Michele Del Campo

artist studio michele del campo london Home studio, London

artist studio michele del campo valencia

ENGLISH: In the last few months I have started to spend long periods of time in Valencia, close to my newborn daughter and to my wife, for that reason I have rented a small space where I have set-up a new studio for painting. Valencia always feels like a special place to me, the sun, the countryside, the sea, the buildings, the warmth and friendliness of the people, all bear a certain resemblance with the cities in my South Italian region Puglia. Waking up even in winter with the sunshine filtering through the shutters is to me a luxury that has no price, and for a painter it is a bliss, even if the economical, political and social situation in Spain lately is not as bright as the weather, and that is a perception that has darkened the mood of my paintings, as I am very attached to Spain and to its culture. However now my frequent travels to Valencia have sparkled in me the wish for a return to that brightness that was such an important feature in my earlier paintings, when I lived in Spain (Madrid) and in fact I am starting to re-introduce it in my new work, and there is nothing better than painting the light in a city of light. Practically speaking, a sunny and warm city has many advantages for a painter, for example, it allows me to keep the window of my studio open even in winter, lessening the harmful effects of the solvents for oil painting, it also allows me to paint outdoors at almost any time of the year with quite steady conditions of light, or to organize outdoor shoots with models in sunny settings almost at any time and well in advance (in London I cannot rely on having a steady sunny interval even in summer). Moreover, the light in winter lasts much longer in Valencia than in London, which is important when I work from life, and the sun makes it more pleasurable to go out in search of new inspiration outdoors, and to me there is nothing better than the direct sunlight to enhance the shapes of people, objects and spaces (if the light goes away suddenly behind some clouds, for example, a scene that was very interesting can lose completely appeal and become ordinary and dull). For now this is only a temporary solution of a studio in Valencia, but it is certainly giving back to me those practical advantages that were missing since I moved to London and that will certainly be reflected in my new work.

 

SPANISH: Hace varios meses he empezado a pasar largos períodos de tiempo en Valencia, cerca de mi recién nacida hija y de mi mujer, por eso mis suegros me han alquilado un espacio donde me he montado un pequeño estudio para pintar. Valencia siempre ha sido un sitio especial para mi, el campo, el mar, el sol, la arquitectura típica, el calor y la amabilidad de la gente me recuerdan un poco las ciudades de la Puglia, la región del sur de Italia de la que provengo. Despertarme incluso en invierno con los rayos del sol que se infiltran por las persianas medio cerradas para mi es un lujo que no tiene precio, y para un pintor es una dicha, aunque la situación económica, política y social en España no es tan luminosa como el tiempo, y esa es una percepción que ha oscurecido el humor de mi pintura, ya que estoy muy ligado a España y a su cultura. Sin embargo, últimamente mis frecuentes viajes a Valencia han propiciado en mi la voluntad de un retorno a esa iluminación que era una característica tan importante en mis pinturas anteriores, cuando vivía en Madrid, y de hecho he empezado a re-entroducirla en mis nuevos trabajos, y no hay nada mejor que pintar la luz en una ciudad de luz. Hablando de ventajas prácticas en el trabajo, una ciudad soleada y caliente te permite tener las ventanas del estudio abiertas incluso en invierno, atenuando los efectos dañinos de los disolventes de la pintura al óleo, y de pintar al aire libre durante todo el año en condiciones bastante estables de luz, o de organizar tomas fotográficas con modelos bajo el sol casi cada vez que quieres y con antelación (en Londres no puedes confiar en tener el sol, o el sol constante, ni siquiera en verano). Además, en invierno la luz en Valencia dura bastante más tiempo que en Londres, lo cual es importante a la hora de pintar del natural, y el sol hace que sea agradable salir en busca de nueva inspiración en el exterior, y para mi no hay nada más fascinante que los contrastes que crea la luz directa del sol en la gente, en los objetos y en los espacios (a la hora de tomar una foto, por ejemplo, a una escena con iluminación solar directa, si de repente desaparece el sol tras unas nubes todo se hace plano y pierde interés). De momento en Valencia este pequeño estudio es solamente una solución temporánea, pero ciertamente me devuelve esas ventajas prácticas que había perdido desde que me mudé a Londres, y que ciertamente se verán reflejados en mi nuevo trabajo.

 

 

 

 

"The Way to Darkness" by Michele Del Campo

I have been gathering many ideas in form of sketches and texts for my new exhibition during many months. Now I am picking up a selection of them and, after many re-considerations and re-elaborations, one by one is taking shape on canvases.

One of the images that occurred to me for my "Journey of no Return" exhibition was a naked girl who has just stripped her clothes off and walks dangerously on a railway, defying death in front of her friends. After a few months, where I had been working on other paintings, I retook this scene and reconsidered it under a new light Read more… / Versión española…. I wanted to give the scene the power to evoke solitude and abandonment, so I finally portrayed the girl alone.

The painting deserved a big surface to be contemplated in a scale that would benefit the perception of its dramatic beauty, so I made it into a challenging triptych of 170x400cm.

ESPAÑOL:

A lo largo de varios meses he ido acumulando muchas ideas en forma de bocetos y textos para mi próxima exposición "Viaje de no retorno". Ahora estoy seleccionando algunos de esos bocetos, reconsiderándolos y reelaborándolos y uno tras otros, se van convirtriendo en cuadros.

Una de las ideas que se me ocurrió para mi exposición “Viaje sin retorno” fue la de una chica desnuda que se acaba de desprender de su ropa y camina peligrosamente sobre la vía del tren desafiando a la muerte frente a sus amigos. Después de varios meses, en los que trabajé en otros cuadros, retomé esta idea y la reconsideré bajo otra luz. Quería que la escena evocase la soledad y el abandono así que, finalmente, pinté a la chica sola.

El cuadro necesitaba una superficie grande para que se pudiera percibir la escena en toda su dramática belleza, así que la he pintado en un tríptico de 170x400cm.

Variations in life drawing by Michele Del Campo

My weekly life drawings in my studio are becoming quite varied, and variation is an element that inspires change and development, important things that nurture creativity.

Professional ballet or salsa dancers, performing twins, comparisons between the clothed and the nude bodies, costumed recitals of great literature pieces and belly dancing performances are among the treats that I am introducing in every new session.

At the end of every session sometimes we have normally one or two longer poses of 20 minutes each and I take the chance to sketch with oils on scrap canvases or watercolour sketchbooks. Here you can see some of them:

Work in progress... by Michele Del Campo

I'm enjoying painting this diptych, this is the stage when everything comes together and, with the image mostly defined, it's so pleasurable to build it all up with brushes on the canvas. Some of the figures are not recognizable anymore if compared with the reference pictures, I am adapting them to a more "rough" type of young people (I will show the original pictures after I finish it...)

The painting is flowing now very easily on the canvas and every day I see it growing fast. It's a real pleasure when painting comes so easy and spontaneous on a big surface.

Journey of no Return: work in progress by Michele Del Campo

It is a delicate moment of my project: after so many sketched ideas, some photo shootings and further studies with more complex compositions, I start to paint what will be the final images. Now is when six months of gestation for my new project will see the final shape and now is when the result has to match my expectations and convey the message that I want to give.

I am now involved with one of my biggest paintings ever: a diptych of 160x400cm. Even so, because of the small scale of the characters, this new painting doesn't look that big to me, certainly it will be enjoyable to work more physically from one side to another of the canvases with big brushes.

I start my project "Journey of no Return" by Michele Del Campo

Finally I have begun to convert my sketches and ideas into photos that will be my main reference for my next painting project which, with many probabilities, is going to be named "Journey of no Return". After several months of thinking, doubting, processing raw ideas on paper, reading, looking at new references, experiencing real-life situations, I have come up with this new solo exhibition project which will show a darker side of the reality, in comparison with my previous paintings.

For a couple of paintings I had to look for a disused rail tunnel to use as background and, after a long research, I found just what I was looking for. It was a challenge to overcome the bourocratic obstacles that I found on my way everywhere I asked for information, help or permissions. I understood that I had to do it all by myself and try my luck. I researched, traveled, spotted the railway tunnels and found the prohibited way in: it was impressive, a tunnel filtered by the light through a series of magnificent arches.

It requiered a dose of courage and daring to organise the shooting there. I arranged everything the same day (and night...) that I found the tunnels, also thanks to the help and availability of four good friends who would be my models the next day. It was a greatly enjoyable experience for all of us and I was amazed at how they all took the shooting so seriously, also challenging the weather in one of the coldest days of the year. Three of them had no previous experience before a camera but I could not have found better "actors" to stage what my sketches only vaguely suggested.

I win the Life Drawing marathon at the Oubliette Arthouse by Michele Del Campo

On 28th December I took part in the Life Drawing marathon held in the first of the three nights events organised by the squatting Oubliette art group in their newly occupied space in the London district of Soho.

The place, originally a church, was then converted into the world-renown night club called "The Limelight" until it decayed and it was taken over by the Walkabout pub, which closed its doors one year ago. Now, occupied by the Oubliette group, it has been prepared with only the essential comfort but it has become an exciting space for sharing creativity in a friendly atmosphere.

Among the several artistic activities in program, like exhibitions, live music, poetry recitals, photography workshops and film screenings, there was also a life drawing marathon from 6pm to 5am. I ended up participating in it and drawing many hours. I especially enjoyed the activity, drawing a variety of people in solitary poses and rodinesque compositions. I met many interesting artists and friendly people there.

The marathon, organised by the Life Drawing Society UK, had to produce two winners who would receive an annual membership to enter for free in all life drawing activities held by the organisation around London. When I remained with only four more artists to draw, with models much more worn out than artists, the competition ended in a draw and I resulted being one of the two winners.  From now on I will have a good deal of life drawing and painting activity in program, between my own sessions in my studio and those that I will be able to attend for free in other venues around London.

Life drawing in my new studio by Michele Del Campo

Since I came to London, in the beginning of 2008, I have been trying to go to places where I could draw the nude. Sometimes they were far from my house, sometimes the models were always the same and I would get bored, sometimes the classes were too full of people, sometimes too empty and they disappeared after a few weeks. But as soon as I decided to look for a bigger studio I started to cultivate the idea of using my space to host weekly life drawing sessions that I would organise myself.

That way I could not only be comfortable in my studio and have models coming over every week, but I also could create a social environment inviting friends artists and make the practice of drawing an enjoyable experience to share with them.

The idea worked out very well, also thanks to the help of my friends who continue bringing new artists. We gather every Wednesday night in my studio to draw all together, normally we are from 6 to 10 people. When we finish we go out to have a drink and talk, after all we are in Soho, there can be no better place to create a social meeting point.

My new studio in Soho by Michele Del Campo

The artist studio is a magical place, because it is where creativity runs free and takes shape. Diderot suggested that in order to grasp the profound meaning of an artwork one should see the studio where it has been created, spying on atmospheres, rituals, secrets. The size of a studio, the shape, the lighting, the location, the distance from home, all of these characteristics can have a big influence on the development of an artist's work. On the other hand, the artist intervenes on his working space to adapt it to his own creative needs, so, given a similar space, every artist will have a very different studio. Until few weeks ago I had always had my studio incorporated to my home, I could hardly think about living separated from my painting. I needed to have everything under control at all times, I could work at the times that I wanted, whether by day or by night, everything I needed was always there, at a door's distance.

Lately, however, I started to feel that a big room in my flat was not enough anymore for my needs and I decided to look for an even bigger space in London, although that meant that I would have to start commuting every day. I was also looking for a more socially stimulating environment, a place with other artists, where inspiration, experience and ideas circulate more easily.

Buildings dedicated to host artists studios normally are situated in more peripheral areas, often old factories converted into working spaces for artists. However my research coincided with the release, by an organization, of a great newly converted building in the middle of Soho, the sparkling heart of the city, to be wholly rented to fine artists. Among the big pile of applications from many artists there was mine, but I was lucky enough to be chosen to get one of the only thirteen available studios. Among my neighbours in the building are illustrious artists by the name of Neil Gall, Mark Wallinger, Laura Oldfield Ford, Nils Norman, Merlin Carpenter and Annie Kevans. It has taken a long time and effort to set up my new studio and now I look forward to start a new season with a new painting project.

 

ArtLondon by Michele Del Campo

7-11 October 2010Royal Hospital Chelsea, SW3 London http://www.artlondon.net

There is still a chance to see some paintings from the series "Close Strangers", as they will be exhibited at the ArtLondon fair, stand Mark Jason Gallery from 7 to 11 October 2010. "Described last year by The Times as one of the most enjoyable modern art fairs, Art London has always been eclectic and cosmopolitan, combining blue chip historical and contemporary art with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere".